The Brooklyn Youth Chorus was founded in 1992 by Artistic Director Dianne Berkun Menaker and has since become the go-to chorus for New York orchestras, popular recording artists and arts presenters who commission work for this collective of young singers. Known for their artistic innovation, collaboration, and distinctively beautiful sound the Brooklyn Youth Chorus is re-envisioning choral music performance through commissions such as Black Mountain Songs. The Brooklyn Youth Chorus will be joined by Dianne Berkun Menaker, Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire), Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw, director Maureen Towey, Video and Projection Designer Grant McDonald, and world renowned dancer/choreographer Gus Solomons Jr. 


Jason Andrew is the Manager of the Estate of Jack Tworkov. His curatorial projects have included: Jack Tworkov: The Accident of Choice, the artist at Black Mountain College, Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (2011); Jack Tworkov: Black Mountain College and Beyond, selected works from 1952-1982, Asheville Art Museum (2013).

Presentation: And No Birds Sang: the life of choreographer and dancer Katherine Litz

This paper will present not only a succinct chronology of the legendary choreographer Katherine Litz’s dances, but will also argue for her significant placement in the history of modern dance.


Claude Barbre Ph.D., L.P., is Professor of Clinical Psychology Psy.D. Department at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Barbre is Course Lead Coordinator of the  Psychodynamic Orientation at The Chicago School, and lead faculty in the Psychology and Humanities Studies.

Presentation: Estranged from That with Which We Are Most Familiar: Illuminations of Discontinuities and the American Sublime in the Black Mountain Poets Charles Olson and Robert Creeley

In this presentation, we will explore the presence of the American Sublime — characterized by Harold Bloom as “illuminations of discontinuities” — in the performances and literary vision of the Black Mountain poets, in particular the contributions of Charles Olson and Robert Creeley.


Joseph Bathanti is Professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian State University and recipient of the 2016 North Carolina Award for Literature.

Panel: New Wine from Old Bottles: A Fresh Look at BMC Archival Vaults — Moderator: Jeff Davis

This presentation will discuss the recent issue of Appalachian Journal which is dedicated to BMC, and how the resources acquired for this issue were vital to bringing to light the works of major BMC writers who have never before been published.


Victoria Bradbury is a New Media Artist weaving programming code, physical computing, body and object. Bradbury completed her Ph.D. with CRUMB at the University of Sunderland in 2015 and is assistant professor of New Media at UNC Asheville.

Presentation: Skirting Color // Stitching Code: Versioning Albers Across Machines

This paper describes and analyzes the author’s performance Skirting Color // Stitching Code, which was developed for {Re}Happening 2017. In this performance, the actions of a performer alternate between live coding a color study website and manually machine embroidering the same HTML and CSS onto her skirt.


Kendall Breivogel studies Computer Science at UNC Asheville.

Panel: Bringing Black Mountain College History to the Public: Digital History and Undergraduate Research — Moderator: Ellen Pearson

Breivogel will discuss the approach that the Games Programming team took to creating an interactive component for the “BMC in World War II” site and the collaboration between the Games Programming and Digital History students.


Candace Buck is a native Californian who settled in Asheville in 2014. She recently earned her M.L.A.S. degree at UNC Asheville in December of 2016, focusing on Black Mountain College.

Workshop: Responding to the Lake Eden Campus as Art: Ekphrastic Memories of Black Mountain College

This workshop aims to look to the Ekphrastic form as a technique that lends itself to the experiential rooting of Black Mountain College. The images the workshop will engage with speak to the creative energy that came out of the small community of students and their instructors.


Siu Challons-Lipton is Executive Director of the Department of Art, Design and Music, the Carolyn G. and Sam H. McMahon Professor of Art History, and Distinguished Faculty Fellow and Noble Faculty Fellow at Queens University of Charlotte, NC. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oxford.

Presentation: Transformative Learning through Creative Literacy:  The Influence of Black Mountain College of North Carolina

The subjects of this paper are transformative learning, the creative process, and one of the chapters in Book 5 Pedagogies for the Visual in Innovative Learning of the series Transformative Pedagogies in the Visual Domain to be published in Fall 2017.


Mel Chin is a conceptual artist from Houston, Texas known for the broad range of approaches in his art, including works that require multi-disciplinary, collaborative teamwork and works that conjoin cross-cultural aesthetics with complex ideas. Mel is also well known for his iconic sculptures and installations, works that often address the importance of memory and collective identity, and for inserting art into unlikely places, including destroyed homes, toxic landfills, and even popular television, investigating how art can provoke greater social awareness and responsibility.


Dylan Clark is a Mesoamerican archaeologist who teaches anthropology at UNC Asheville, and the resident archivist and curator at Boundary End Center in Barnardsville, NC. Clark holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University and over the past decade has conducted archaeological excavations at various ancient Maya sites in Mexico and Central America.

Presentation: An Archaeologist of Morning in Mayaland, 1951

In this paper, Clark traces Olson’s archaeological experiences in Lerma, Campeche and at several Maya sites in the Yucatan Peninsula, drawing on information from Olson’s correspondence with Robert Creeley published in The Mayan Letters and other sources.


Curt Cloninger is Associate Professor of New Media at UNC Asheville, and is also on the Board of Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center. Curt is an artist, designer, and writer whose art undermines language as a system of meaning in order to reveal it as an embodied force in the world.

Presention: A Process of Practicing Process Philosophy: Vectoral Slippages between Alfred North Whitehead and Charles Olson 


Marcia Cohen is a visual artist and educator whose work is included in numerous private and public collections including the High Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and her recent paintings were included in the journal New American Paintings for 2015. She is a Professor at SCAD Atlanta.

Presentation: Primarily Red Yellow and Blue: A Project Setting the Stage for Josef Albers and Oskar Schlemmer

This slide presentation follows the process and development of a project in a Freshman Foundation Design course at SCAD Atlanta (Savannah College of Art and Design/Atlanta Campus). Students in Cohen’s Color Theory and Application courses developed a unique artist’s book project after researching the Bauhaus theater of Oskar Schlemmer combined with various exercises from Josef Albers’ Interaction of Color.


Lori Cozzi is the Executive Director of ArtSpace Charter School. She holds a M.S. in Arts Education from Florida State University, and will resume her role as adjunct professor at Mars Hill University in the Fall.

Presentation: Fast Forward: Continuing a Tradition of Arts Integrated Learning in the Swannanoa Valley

This presentation will include a verbal and visual overview of the overwhelming similarities, (and few differences) between Swannanoa’s ArtSpace Charter School and the A+ Schools model, and Black Mountain College. This will be followed by thought-provoking questions to be considered and discussed by participants.


Jeff Davis is an independent scholar, a member of the Charles Olson Society, who has presented half a dozen papers based on extensive research in the Olson archives since 2010. Jeff is the Director and Board Chair of MadHat, Incorporated, and has published two collections of poems, the chapbook Transits of Venus (Wildwood Press, 2005), and Natures: Selected Poems, 1972–2005 (New Native, 2006).

Presentation: Primordia: Charles Olson’s Project to Recover the Mythic

This paper will explore aspects of Charles Olson’s project to recover the mythic, outlined in his paper Primordia, as it took form in 1953’s lectures for the Institute of the New Sciences of Man, and afterward became embodied in the later Maximus poems.


Robert Ladislas Derr received his M.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design, B.F.A. from the Art Academy of Cincinnati, and attended the Photography Institute National Graduate Seminar at New York University. He is Professor of Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and is the Director of the School of Art, Art History & Design.

Presentation: Process + Performance + Participate

Derr will address his performance works in relation to those of John Cage and Merce Cunningham. Similar to Cage and Cunningham, Derr’s making is a fluid practice, one where site, circumstance, and communal contexts in relation to historical and conceptual paradigms inform a call to which he responds.


Ann Dunn is a teacher at UNC Asheville who holds a Ph.D. from USC, and has received professional training with New York City Ballet, Martha Graham, and Merce Cunningham. For 37 years she has been the Artistic and Executive Director of The Asheville Ballet, Inc. and Owner and CEO of The Asheville Academy of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, Inc.

Presentation: Choreographic Process and Product Through Three Lenses: Balanchine, Cunningham, Dunn

This paper and presentation explore three quite different approaches to the choreographic process: one from Classical Ballet, one from Modern Dance, and one from an amalgamation of the two genres. The three seasoned artists Dunn has chosen as illustrations of this difference are George Balanchine (one of her teachers and mentors at New York City Ballet), Merce Cunningham (one of her teachers and mentors in his own dance world and an important early member of the Black Mountain College community), and herself, as she has been making dance work since 1972.


Françoise Soulé Duressé is a multi-ethnic interdisciplinary artist who grew up between Haiti and Jamaica, and whose work is rooted in the practice of performance, oral storytelling, film-making, experimental sound, sculpture, painting and drawing. She was the recipient of a Yaddo residency, and was honored with the Donald and Genie Rice Filmmaker Residency Grant.

Performance: Unhidden Graves

This piece involves a large-scale multimedia project combining the moving image with live stage performance, mobile sculpture objects, and experimental sounds, is a dreamlike piece taking place in a fictitious space representing the house on the island of St. Helena, where Napoleon once lived and died.


Michaela Dwyer is a Ph.D. student in American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a chief contributor at Indy Week, where she writes about dance.

Panel: Landscapes of Black Mountain College — Moderator: Heather South

Presentation: Dancing Black Mountain: Space, Place, and the American South

In this presentation, Dwyer will engage a few representational flashpoints of dance at Black Mountain College — including photographs, correspondence, and memoir — to think through the ways in which dance instructors, choreographers, and students considered their movement(s) in tandem with the college’s (and Black Mountain’s) natural and built landscapes.


John Estes directs the Undergraduate Creative Writing Program at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. His poetry, prose, and translations have been published in AGNI, Tin House, West Branch, Gettysburg Review, Southern Review and other places.

Presentation: The Vision of Process and the Process of Vision: Dewey, Olson, and Black Mountain Poetics

By establishing a link between the first principles of Black Mountain College’s origins and those of its closing era, which on the surface appear so different, the hope is to demonstrate a through line of continuity grounded in the radically creative, evolving nature of human beings.


Henry Ferrini, Producer/Director: Henry Ferrini, from Gloucester, MA, employs a lyrical, impressionist style that allows for exploration of the philosophies, thoughts, and ideas of his subjects. Mark Feeney of the Boston Globe calls him “a poet of seeing.” He has made three films about poets; his latest full-length film “Polis is This: Charles Olson and the Persistence of Place,”  digs into the powerful dynamic between the poet and place. Bill Corbett of the Boston Phoenix called Polis “the best film about an American poet ever.” He is working on “President of Beauty; the Life and Times of Lester Young.”


Thomas E. Frank is a Professor and Immediate Past Chair of the Department of History at Wake Forest, where he teaches courses on the history of American liberal arts colleges, utopian communities, and historic preservation and conservation. A graduate of Harvard and Emory, Frank came to Wake Forest in 2010 after 23 years on the faculty at Emory.

Presentation: ‘Boating on Lake Eden’: Charles Olson and a Poetics for Education at Black Mountain College  

While a number of former students have described Charles Olson in the classroom, Frank’s paper will explore Olson’s basic dispositions as an educator.


Erika Funke is an award-winning radio producer and the host of a daily classical music program on WVAI, the public radio station in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. She hosts a daily classical music program on the public radio station in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and occasional television specials.

Presentation: Only Connect: From Footnote to Formative Metaphor — Black Mountain College & Radio

Citing actual broadcasts from commercial radio stations in Asheville between 1938 & 1944, the use of a radio receiver by John Cage during what is known as the very first Happening, and more, this talk will examine various radio-related episodes in the overall experience of BMC, where radio emerges as a metaphor for the underlying vision of larger projects and work by a number of faculty members including M.C. Richards.


Shana Dumont Garr is Curator at the Fruitlands Museum. She has extensive curatorial, exhibit, and engagement experience, with time spent at Artspace in Raleigh, NC; the Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill, NC; the Montserrat Art Gallery in Beverly, MA; and the Hurst Gallery in Cambridge, MA.

Presentation: Two Places in Time: Cultivating Contradictions at the Fruitlands Commune and Black Mountain College

This paper traces influence from the Transcendentalist philosophy that motivated the  Fruitlands experiment and its founder Bronson Alcott’s life works, and the progressive  methodology of Black Mountain College, with an emphasis on the parallels between the two  collectives’ common legacies of cultivating contradictions.


Julia K Gleich is a choreographer based in New York and London. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of Gleich Dances, and a member of CORPS de Ballet International.

Presentation: And No Birds Sang: the life of choreographer and dancer Katherine Litz

This paper will present not only a succinct chronology of the legendary choreographer Katherine Litz’s dances, but will also argue for her significant placement in the history of modern dance.


Gilles Heno-Coe is a Ph.D. student at The University of Texas at Austin, and is also the Collections Manager at Landmarks, the university’s public art program.

Presentation: The Mind of Matter: The Ink on Plastic Drawings of Jasper Johns

Drawing on the work of American philosopher and semiotician Charles S.Peirce, this paper traces particular transformations across media, from painting to drawing and printmaking, looking closely at Jasper Johns’ recently found photographic source imagery and resulting works in ink on plastic that have been made within the last five years.


Chelsea Helms is a Practitioner in Residence in the Building Science Program at Appalachian State University. Today she is Practitioner in Residence at the IDEXlab (Integrative Design Experience Laboratory).

Presentation: The IDEXlab’s process of production for the MOBILab, an energy independent mobile classroom

Appalachian State University’s 2015-2016 Integrative Design EXperience Laboratory (IDEXlab) cohort designed and built an energy self-sufficient mobile laboratory platform, the MOBILab, which now resides on top of Beech Mountain, NC. This presentation will discuss the process of pedagogy and the subsequent working methodologies uncovered by the IDEXlab studio.


Anastasia James is an Associate Curator at The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. She has curated exhibitions on Ray Johnson and Cary Leibowitz, and is the co-editor of two book-length monographs: Billy Name: The Silver Age, photographs from Warhol’s Factory and Brigid Berlin: Polaroids published by Reel Art Press, London.

Presentation: Objects. Solids. Speech as Solid. Kinetic. Movement: Projective Verse and Pottery at Black Mountain College

The ceramics program at the college would become one of the most interesting and innovative programs that the college offered. In this paper I argue that the influence of the college and the specialized Summer Institutes of the Arts in particular, provided new context for the potters that practiced at Black Mountain College.


Sean Jankowski is a double-major in Political Science and History at Valdosta State University with an emphasis on International Relations. He is a member of the Model United Nations team.

Panel: Experiencing the Black Mountain College Model: The Black Mountain Transcendentalist Society in Their Own Words — Moderator: Charles Johnson

The true value of experiential learning and the Black Mountain College model lies within simply becoming a well-rounded and balanced individual—one with eyes wide open to the world before us.


Charles Johnson is a professor of History and Popular Culture Studies and History at Valdosta State University. In 2001-2002 he held a Fulbright Professorship in American Studies at the Universität Tübingen in Germany and a visiting professorship in 2004.

Panel: Experiencing the Black Mountain College Model: The Black Mountain Transcendentalist Society in Their Own Words — Moderator: Charles Johnson

In this panel each student will discuss their experiences and work as well as their contributions to the learning community of the Black Mountain Transcendentalist Society (BMTS).


Michael Kindellan is the Vice Chancellor’s Fellow in the School of English, University of Sheffield, and has published on Prynne and Olson. He has held postdoctoral positions in Germany (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Universität Bayreuth) and France (Université Paul-Valéry, Montpellier III).

Presentation: A Poetics of Pedagogy: Charles Olson at BMC

In her presentation Kindellan proposes to speculate how, why and to what end Charles Olson understood radical literary innovation as not only constitutive of new possibilities in and for “the arts,” but as coextensive with advanced forms of research and pedagogical processes more broadly.


Sofia Kofodimos is a Subject Specialist and Cataloger in the Archives of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. She completed her MA in Art History with a thesis about Ray Johnson at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU and her BFA in Art History at Pratt Institute.

Presentation: Collages in Motion: The Transformations and Dispersal of Ray Johnson’s Moticos

This paper focuses on Ray Johnson’s “moticos,” the uniquely shaped collages he began making in the early 1950s, and examines his deployments of these small collages to stage temporary installations on the streets of New York City and as elements in performances such as those with art critic Suzi Gablik and choreographer James Waring.


Steve Lane is an artist who teaches in New York and internationally.

Presentation: The International Influence of Black Mountain College

This 25-image presentation will focus on this influence in context to the following: my design of the CAFA Summer Arts Program, which is held at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts and Tsinghua University, Beijing; my design of the studio art program at Keio Academy of New York; the Shakespeare Summer Theater Program at Tsinghua University; the studio art program at the Aegean School of Fine Arts, Paros, Greece; and my work as an artist.


William Langdon taught studio and sustainable design at the University of Arkansas as an Assistant Professor of Architecture. He has a private architectural practice which engages in a wide range of commercial, public and residential projects.

Presentation: A. Lawrence Kocher, Citizen Architect Extraordinaire

This paper explores the life and works of A. Lawrence Kocher, who designed the Studies Building at BMC, was appointed Professor of Architecture at the college, and was editor of Architectural Record.

Panel: A. Lawrence Kocher’s Significance at Black Mountain College — Moderator: William Langdon

This session panel will specifically explore the role of A. Lawrence Kocher at Black Mountain College and his legacy today as one of the most important “Citizen-Architects” of the 20th Century.


Monique Lanoix is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at St. Paul University in the Center for Research in Public Ethics and Governance where she teaches courses in feminist ethics, human rights and environmental ethics. She has published in Hypatia, Brain Injury, Atlantis, the International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, Chronic Illness, and the Journal of Medical Ethics.

Presentation: Cripping Dance (with Merce Cunningham)

Recognizing that Cunningham understood process as foundational to choreography and dance, I put forward that it is the process resulting in the interplay of body, mind, and imagination that makes dance an aesthetic object, and this is best perceived in dancers who defy ideals of bodily normality.


Steve Lansford is an artist, composer, writer, and translator. He also participated in the 2011 and 2012 ReVIEWING Black Mountain College conferences. His multimedia works, among others, bridged the gap between Eastern and Western culture in ways that were challenging, entertaining, and unexpected.

Performance: Mandala Cycles(s)

This audio-visual work strives to immerse the audience in the mandala’s vibrant process of creation, destruction, and re-creation, much like the movements of the universe itself. The visuals will be accompanied by a pre-recorded musical score that employ chance operations similar to those used in John Cage’s revolutionary piano work Music of Changes.


Terryl Lawrence is a retired professor from Palm Beach State College, Broward State College, and Florida Atlantic University. She holds a doctoral degree in art and education from Columbia University and has had many exhibitions of her paintings and photographs in New York and Florida.

Presentation: Dance as the Sculpture of Space

This presentation will attempt to define Isamu Noguchi’s descriptive phrase: “Dance is the sculpture of space.”


Kelly Love is the founder of Susten8™/SusteNation™/Susten8Social Artspaces and Gallery as a social enterprise/movement designed to move the field beyond mere sustainability to systems which propagate active sustenance; nourishing artisanal communities of well-being, cultivating creative actions, and making fertile social resilience.

Workshop: Cultivars, ‘climats’ and veritas: An interdisciplinary arts-based ethno-exploration into the cultural philosophy of BMC and the creative fruition of its ‘vines’ via BMC alumni (process & performance)

This workshop hopes to inspire a meta-process of trans-disciplinary exploration into the creative fruits comprising the BMC legacy. It is designed to facilitate articulation of the creative processes germinated in the unique culture/soil of BMC and explore the fruition of the cultivars/BMC alumni who were propagated therein.


Marija Marcelionytė-Paliukė holds a masters degree from Vilnius Academy of Arts, and today she is the Chairwoman of the Senate there.

Presentation: How I as an Artist and an Educator was Caught by BMC Ideas

This presentation explores how the artist, educator, and American Roman Catholic nun Corita Kent revolutionized Marcelionytė-Paliukė’s capacity as a teacher and lecturer, her approach to art education, and has encouraged further research which is currently being led to focus on the people and ideas of Black Mountain College.


Ana Martínez is an independent scholar and practicing architect who holds a Postgraduate Diploma from the University of Madrid. She is currently a part of the team at Darlow-Christ Architects in Boston, MA.

Presentation: BMC from Self-Publishing to the Digital Era, a Statistical Approach.

Through an analysis of more than two hundred websites and paper publications (exclusively about BMC) their work aims to provide insight on how society perceives experimental education (then and now), the influence digitalization has had over the diffusion of radical ideas (exponentially increasing the availability of information), and where efforts and energy should be spent to achieve a better and total understanding of the college.


Martha McDonald is a Philadelphia-based interdisciplinary artist who works through performances and installations that feature handcrafted costumes and objects that she activates through gestures of making and unmaking and singing to transmit narrative. She holds an M.F.A from Monash University.

Presentation: Mountain Modernism: Channeling Xanti Schawinsky


Aaron McMillan is a Political Science major at Valdosta State University.

Panel: Experiencing the Black Mountain College Model: The Black Mountain Transcendentalist Society in Their Own Words — Moderator: Charles Johnson

By studying Black Mountain College more closely, the Black Mountain Transcendentalist Society has sought to discover the true meaning of education as a lifestyle of continual learning rather than a series of lectures, examinations and research papers.


Bill Miller is an Assistant Professor of Art and Design at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and holds a M.F.A. at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He has exhibited and screened his abstract ASCII drawings, animated GIFs, web browser-based compositions, and audio/visual works nationally and internationally.

Presentation: Movement Systems and Data Dancing

For this presentation, Miller will briefly describe the process used to develop his motion capture animated videos, and will screen several of the them. The process revolves around working collaboratively with dance and movement specialists in a MOCAP (motion capture) studio, and the videos will demonstrate the combination of human movement, dance, chance, error, collaboration, aesthetics, and cross-disciplinary practice.


David Jason Miller is an associate professor and Program Director of Building Science at Appalachian State University, and an architect at David Jason Miller Architect PLLC. He has been a faculty director for Appalachian’s entries to the 2011 US DOE Solar Decathlon and the Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 in Versailles, France, and also serves as a faculty advisor of the IDEXlab (Integrative Design Experience Laboratory).

Presentation: The IDEXlab’s process of production for the MOBILab, an energy independent mobile classroom

Appalachian State University’s 2015-2016 Integrative Design EXperience Laboratory (IDEXlab) cohort designed and built an energy self-sufficient mobile laboratory platform, the MOBILab, which now resides on top of Beech Mountain, NC. This presentation will discuss the process of pedagogy and the subsequent working methodologies uncovered by the IDEXlab studio.


Eric Mullis is a philosopher, dancer, and choreographer who resides in Charlotte, North Carolina who holds a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. His academic work is currently focused on political art and his performance work is investigating ecstatic states in Appalachian Charismatic Pentecostalism and the relationship between the body and digital media in performance.

Presentation: The Political Effectiveness of Anarchist Aesthetics: Cage, Cunningham, Ranciere

In this paper, Mullis draws on Cage, Cunningham, and contemporary French philosopher Jacques Ranciere as he considers the political implications of anarchist collaborative process and aesthetics.


Crawford Murphy is an architect, fine artist, and musician with a Bachelors of Science/Bachelors of Architecture from Georgia Tech. Murphy has had an architectural practice for 54 years, and has received national and regional design awards, including the Duke Endowment Randolph Dumont Award.

Presentation: PASSt the BUCK

With respect to Buckminster Fuller’s historical 20th century philosophy of technical advancement with environmental and sociological integration, Murphy will present a parallel historical philosophy of the emergence of the 21st century technology of cross-laminated timber (CLT). He will explore this technology as it relates to environmental / economical / sociological labor, life safety, energy efficiency, beauty, climate change, and building construction management.


Carmelo Pampillonio is a multimedia composer and sound artist based in Asheville, NC. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy from UNC Asheville and was also a Windgate Intern at Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center.

Presentation: Black Mountain College’s Relative Domain of Freedom: Performativity and the Improvisative via Judith Butler

This paper utilizes philosopher Judith Butler’s theories on identity, performativity, and her notion that gender is an “improvisation within a scene of constraint,” to explore how Black Mountain College provided a larger relative domain of freedom than most other communities, which allowed individuals to cultivate their own distinct performances and values.


Louly Peacock is an Adjunct Professor of Art History at UNC Asheville, who holds a Ph.D. in Art History from UNC Chapel Hill. Over the past 25 years she has also taught a variety of Art History and Women’s Studies related courses at UNC Chapel Hill, Washington and Lee, Warren Wilson College, and Brevard.

Presentation/Performance: ‘House of Many Colors’: The Influence of Black Mountain College on Feminist Contemporary Music and Performance in Asheville and Beyond

This presentation/performance discusses the confluence of chance and experimentation at Black Mountain College, and how it has evolved into musical performances by Asheville-area musicians and poets such as Stephanie Morgan and Peacock herself — and appears in N.C. festivals through the works of St. Vincent (at Moogfest) and Peacock’s band Rad Lou (at Asheville Fringe Fest).


Ellen Holmes Pearson is a professor of History at UNC Asheville. She holds a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, and her teaching interests span from digital history to colonial, revolutionary, and early national U.S. history.

Panel: Bringing Black Mountain College History to the Public: Digital History and Undergraduate Research — Moderator: Ellen Pearson

Presentation: Bringing Black Mountain College History to the Public: Digital History and Undergraduate Research 


Joseph Pizza holds a Ph.D. from the University of Oxford. Currently, he is an associate professor of English at Belmont Abbey College, near Charlotte, NC, where he teaches courses on Modern and Contemporary Literature and directs the College’s Honors program.

Presentation: Black Mountain and Jazz: Olson, Creeley, and Open Field Poetics

Taking seriously Charles Olson’s affinity for Charlie Parker’s music, Pizza would like to explore the degree to which jazz played a significant role in shaping the writing of Charles Olson and, through him, the writers associated with Black Mountain College from the time of Olson’s arrival until its closure in 1957.


Christian Rayner received his Ph.D. from Saint Louis University in May of this year, in which he completed his dissertation, “‘I, I Said’: ‘Teaching through’ Experimental American Poetry.” His most recent creative project, computer-aided poems “composed” in collaboration with Hannah Artwick and Gnoetry0.2 (the machine), was accepted for publication by Beard of Bees.

Presentation: ‘Teaching through’ John Cage: Indeterminate Pedagogy and Poetics

John Cage taught courses in the face of educational approaches shaped by New Critical theory, which entails isolating texts for analysis that aspires to scientific rigor. In this paper, Rayner argues for a return to pedagogy developed by him at Black Mountain College in 1948 and 1952.


Ludmila Razgulina is a postgraduate student at School of Philology, Lomonosov Moscow State University. She is currently working on her postgraduate research project dedicated to Black Mountain College poetic experiment within international avant-garde context.

Presentation: Autobiographical Mode and Dynamic Preservation: The Case of Robert Creeley and Charles Olson

This paper utilizes Olson’s concept of documentation as a reenactment of the energy and instant of experience, and Creeley’s concept of the autobiographical writing mode which he defines as “life tracking itself,” in order to answer three questions: 1) how the art project of Black Mountain College lives on in research practice, 2) how to evaluate its cultural impact, and 3) how curators and scholars could collaborate to create an afterlife of an artistic community.


Keira Roberson is a History major at UNC Asheville who has interned at the Western Regional Archives.

Panel: Bringing Black Mountain College History to the Public: Digital History and Undergraduate Research

Roberson will present research on the staff members of Black Mountain College who were European refugees or interned in American camps, and on two individuals who left the college to contribute to the war effort. She will also discuss the trials of archival research from a beginner’s viewpoint, and the process of translating that information into a language that is more appealing to a wider audience.


Hall W. Rockefeller holds an M.A. in Modern Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London and a B.A. in Art History from Yale University. A native of New York City, she studies the intersection of craft, modernity, and feminism in modern art.

Presentation: Anni Albers at Black Mountain: Addressing Modernity Through the Ancient Medium of Weaving

This paper looks at the works of Anni Albers, and the structure of weaving as it relates to the motif of the grid in modern art and uses Rosalind Krauss’s essay “Grids” (1979), as well as  criticism relating to artists Agnes Martin and Piet Mondrian, to explore the role of the grid in  Albers’s work.


David Ruderman is an associate professor at The Ohio State University, where he teaches 19th century British Literature, Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, and Creative Writing.  He holds a PHD in romanticism from the University of Michigan, and his essays have appeared in Victorian Poetry, Essays in Romanticism, Romantic Circles Pedagogies Commons, Political Geography, and The American Psychoanalyst.

Presentation: Re-visioning and Re-listening: Placing Charles Olson at Black Mountain

Working from existing scholarship, sound files, and passages of Olson’s poetry (archival and published), this paper argues for an alternative view of Olson’s poetics — communitarian, interdisciplinary, more social in nature, and co-located at Black Mountain College.


April Salas is a History major at Valdosta State University and is pursuing a minor in International Studies.

Panel: Experiencing the Black Mountain College Model: The Black Mountain Transcendentalist Society in Their Own Words — Moderator: Charles Johnson

In this panel I will discuss how the Black Mountain College approach to learning and my work with the Black Mountain Transcendentalist Society have influenced my life and helped me develop as a person and student through experience and process.


Ricky Sears is an artist who holds an M.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts, has held visiting assistant professorships at Washington College and Northern Virginia Community College, and he currently teaches full-time at Landon School in Maryland. The elements in his art respond to discoveries made in neuroscience.

Workshop: Using Watercolor to Create Breathing Patterns

Participants in this interactive workshop use watercolor to create a visual record of their breathing patterns by moving a paint brush in conjunction with each inhale and exhale. Art elements like line, color, and texture are utilized, resulting in pieces that reveal the fundamental design principles of rhythm, balance, and harmony emphasized by the Bauhaus and Black Mountain College faculty and its students.


David Silver is an associate professor of Media Studies, Environmental Studies, and Urban Agriculture at the University of San Francisco. For the last four years, he has been researching and writing a multimedia history of the farm at Black Mountain College.

Panel: Landscapes of Black Mountain College — Moderator: Heather South

Presentation: Pigs and Place at Black Mountain College

In this presentation Silver will argue three things: first, that the (mostly) student-built pig pens at BMC’s Blue Ridge campus constitute the origins of the college’s Build Program; second, that growing their own feed meant transforming the land on campus; and third, that raising pigs required, enabled, and sustained significant collaborations with various community partners, thereby extending the boundaries of the campus community.


Chris Wilson Simpkins earned an M.A. in English Literature from San Francisco State University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. She is currently a doctoral candidate in English Studies at the University of South Africa, where she is completing a literary biography of Black Mountain poet Hilda Morley.

Presentation: The Wife’s Lament: What Elegy Does to Hilda Morley
This paper examines the reception and categorization of Hilda Morley’s work against feminist biographical principles, especially Carolyn Heilbrun’s observation that marriage is “the most persistent of myths imprisoning women, and misleading those who write of women’s lives,” discussing how typical conventions of biography have led to a misunderstanding of Morley’s poetry (as well as her life).


Heather South has been the Lead Archivist at the North Carolina Western Regional Archives since it opened five years ago. She has an MA in History and is a Certified Archivist.

Panel: Bringing Black Mountain College History to the Public: Digital History and Undergraduate Research — Moderator: Ellen Pearson

This part of the presentation will cover the archivist’s role in students’ research and the importance of these digital projects for opening more local history and primary sources to the public in outward-facing projects. It will also cover the scope of the Black Mountain College collection.

Panel: New Wine from Old Bottles: A Fresh Look at BMC Archival Vaults  — Moderator: Jeff Davis

This presentation will share a range of materials, physical and digital, available for researchers through the Western Regional Archives. This includes student records, memoiristic material, and complete transcripts of interviews conducted by Martin Duberman.


Kate Stanley is Assistant Professor at the University of Western Ontario. Her contributions  to the study of American literature, literary modernism, pragmatism, and pedagogy have  appeared or are forthcoming in American Literary History, Criticism, The Henry James  Review, and Women’s Studies Quarterly.

Presentation: Pragmatism and Pedagogy: John Dewey and John Cage at Black Mountain College

This paper explores the experimental approach to the lecture form that John Cage witnessed and internalized during his five years as an instructor at Black Mountain College, which includes John Dewey’s pragmatist philosophy of experiential “learning by doing.”


Eric Steineger teaches English at Mars Hill University and occasionally in UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program. He is also the Senior Poetry Editor of The Citron Review.

Presentation: The Intersection of the Poem: A Look at the Process of John Wieners

This presentation will examine a typical John Wieners poem from start to finish, analyzing it in regards to process.


Suzanne Stephens is the Deputy Editor of Architectural Record, and holds a Ph.D. in architectural history from Cornell University.

Panel: A. Lawrence Kocher’s Significance at Black Mountain College — Moderator: William Langdon

This session panel will specifically explore the role of A. Lawrence Kocher at Black Mountain College and his legacy today as one of the most important “Citizen-Architects” of the 20th Century.


Michael Seth Stewart is a graduate from The University of Alabama’s New College. He also holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, working on the 20th century Boston and BMC lyric poet John Wieners.

 Presentation: Drawing the Line at Black Mountain


Julie J. Thomson is an independent scholar and curator who lives in Durham, NC and works at Duke University Press. She curated the recent exhibition “Begin to See: The Photographers of Black Mountain College” at Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center.

Panel: Landscapes of Black Mountain College — Moderator: Heather South

Presentation: Mountains Ho!

Using what I have come to realize is a collage approach to working with archival material, my presentation will combine together material from letters, interviews, photographs, and works of art to draw our attention to the mountains at Black Mountain College, in an effort to begin to think about the role they played in people’s lives and experiences there.


Erin Tracy is a choreographer, director, and performer who holds an M.F.A. from UCSD. She has performed at venues in New York such as PS 122, The Ontological Theatre at St. Mark’s Church, BAX, Galapagos, and Dixon Place.

Performance: Woman in the Corner

This performance is a thirty minute site responsive dance theatre solo performance based on the remnants of the drawing of a woman in Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased de Kooning Drawing.


Jason Vartikar is the Jeanette and William Hayden Jones Fellow in American Art and Culture at Stanford University where he is a Ph.D. candidate studying American art and issues of race and objecthood. He was the founder of a contemporary art gallery in New York City, Hansel and Gretel Picture Garden and Pocket Utopia, and for the last year he has intensively researched the early wire sculpture of Ruth Asawa and her studies at Black Mountain College.

Presentation: Ruth Asawa’s Wire Sculptures and the 1935 ‘Invertebrata’ at Black Mountain College

Drawing on the Ruth Asawa Papers in Stanford University Library’s Special Collections, this  paper presents a fundamentally new account of Ruth Asawa’s early wire sculpture: that it emerged from racism and ethnoracializing interpretation, and found an expression of equality in wire, a breakthrough that occurred in 1949 at Black Mountain College.


Kristen Walden is a History major at UNC Asheville who has completed two internships with the Western Regional Archives

Panel: Bringing Black Mountain College History to the Public: Digital History and Undergraduate Research — Moderator: Ellen Pearson

This paper will explore the connections between Black Mountain College and Communism, discussing how the college came to be labeled as a “communist institution” by the public. Walden will also discuss the process and importance of using archives during research.


Emily White is a student at Valdosta State University majoring in Communication Science and Disorders.

Panel: Experiencing the Black Mountain College Model: The Black Mountain Transcendentalist Society in Their Own Words — Moderator: Charles Johnson

White’s work with the Black Mountain Transcendentalist Society has been an experience that has enriched the educational process while helping to create a better-rounded student ready to take on the global community to make a difference.